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Kristin Murphy, Deseret News
Staff Sgt. Joel Yoder hugs his daughter, Minnie Mae, 4, after a departure ceremony at the Utah National Guard headquarters in Draper on Thursday, Dec. 28, 2017. Fifteen soldiers from the Guard’s 142nd Military Intelligence Battalion are leaving for a 12-month deployment to Afghanistan in support of Operation Freedom Sentinel.
DRAPER — When military soldiers train, they know that one day their training could be used in the realm of actual combat. And while they often long for the opportunity to put their preparation to the test, when that time comes there is a sobering reality for them and the family that supports their goal of serving their country.
For a group of 15 Utah soldiers, the chance has come to put their skills and training to use in the nation’s ongoing efforts to battle terror in the Middle East. Soldiers from the Utah Army National Guard’s 142nd Military Intelligence Battalion are set to deploy to Afghanistan with the mission of processing and analyzing information gathered that will help U.S. forces gain a better understanding of the battlefield and to fight enemy insurgents.
The unit was recognized at a departure ceremony Thursday at the Utah National Guard headquarters in Draper. For many like Sgt. Matthew Ellsworth, it will be their first overseas deployment, which brings with it a little anxiety and a lot of anticipation.
“When you join, you know this is an expectation. I’ve always looked forward to it,” he said. ” Everything I’ve trained for has been for this moment. This is kind of my Super Bowl.”
He noted that being in a new…